Gaaaainz

Do wrote:

I recently found your website after starting a healthier lifestyle, you have a ton of information here! I spent three days binging on your posts and I have really learned quite a bit. One question I have though is what are gains? I see this term used on fitness websites, yoga Instagram pages, and various places on the Internet. I am just confused on what it means.

Do

Do

“Gains (or “Gainz”) is a term used to refer to muscle building, but it is often used incorrectly to refer to progress. Make no mistake, gains is all about gaining muscle.

How do you achieve gains? It’s a combination of macronutrition and the right exercises to build muscle. You can bulk (carb heavy with high caloric intake), cut (protein heavy with low or moderate caloric intake), or just maintain (balanced eating with moderate caloric intake). Bulking adds size the fastest, cutting is dropping bulk (this is where people show more muscle striation and use terms like “shredded”), and maintaining is eating enough protein to maintain muscle mass with the current exercise plan (not really seeing gains unless you’re doing muscle building exercises..you’re typically just reshaping what’s there).

You won’t achieve gainz/gains through yoga or weightless cardio, or without a solid amount of protein, meaning if you think you will be able to add muscle by eating three meals a day with 10-20g of protein per meal, you’re wrong. 0.8 to 1g of protein per lb of body weight is the baseline. Yes, if you weigh 160lbs, you should be consuming 128-160g of protein each day. If you’re not, you can be toning up your body without really adding muscle mass, which is where fat burning really takes off.

Obviously, there are calorie burning exercise plans and supplements out there that cause people to lose weight quickly, and some muscle becomes visible, but if you’re not adding in protein and weight training, you’re cutting yourself short in the long run. Your salad won’t cut it if you’re looking to gain muscle, nor will a calorie deficient diet with one protein shake after each workout. If you want to make some real gains/gainz, you will need to be more strategic about how, what, and when you eat.

Do some research on macronutrition and figure out what works for your goals. Add in some heavy weights, and go to town. You won’t get bulky unless you’re following a plan that is designed to add bulk. All in all, heavy weight and the right eating plan can be beneficial for everyone.

Sean

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Living room workouts

Lynn wrote:

I’ve been reading your posts lately, and I am wondering why you’re so hard on those at home workout people. Do you not find them valid forms of exercise?

Lynn

Lynn,

First, any workout is better than no workout. Second, I am not against at home workouts as a form of staying healthy or losing weight…BUT, I like to poke fun at the ridiculous poses many of the at home fitness patrons make (looks like they all have a back problem and are super happy about it), and I believe their supplements are crap.

At home workouts are effective at raising heart rate and shredding fat. It has a welcoming community and many people have made successful careers out of coaching others. It’s a great way to get fit. It is not the same as lifting where you’re building muscle and dramatically increasing bone density though.

The long term benefit if you did both for ten years and gave up forever (assuming you maintained a high protein diet) is, lifting (and two to five hand weights in your home is NOT lifting) will take longer to regain body fat and decrease bone density than cardio based workouts. Lifting heavy doesn’t make people big and bulky, unless they’re doing exercises that promote muscle growth while at the same time consuming food/supplements that promote muscle growth. I have had some ups and downs, but have really poured myself into heavier lifting in the last year and have seen some amazing results. As an anti-fan of normal machine cardio, lifting heavy can also provide good cardio, if done correctly with minimal rest.

So again, I am not against home workouts. I am just more of a fan of the heavy weight. I know I couldn’t hang in a 45 minute moderate level class with some of those companies, just as they know they couldn’t hang with 200lb tricep pushdowns and some of the stuff I do. Do whatever feels best as long as you’re doing something.

Sean

Epicatechin

I’ve been trying Epicatechin for a short time now, but I’ve been seeing some results that I thought I’d share.

First, you may be wondering, “Epi whaaat?”

Epicatechin is basically a flavinol (plant chemical) found in many foods including green tea and dark chocolate that has a ton of health benefits including improving brain and heart health, lowering cholesterol, improving insulin sensitivity, and enhancing lean muscle growth as well as muscle strength.

I won’t go too deep into the details of how it works, but the general findings shows it limits myostatin in the body, which in turn promotes nitric oxide elevation and muscle growth.

Studies show long term use benefits include leaner physique, increased fat burning, increased protein absorption, lowered risk of stroke and heart attack, and even lowered cancer risk.

The other upside? There are no known reported side effects, and it’s safe for both men and women.

I am seeing some results, notably a decrease in body fat and some decent improvement at the gym, and I’d recommend it to anyone looking to improve their physique or athletic performance.

Here are a few to try:

Epistrol from Killer Labz

Massacre from Olympus Labs

EpiCat from Blackstone Labs

Good luck!

Sean

Tar isn’t the problem

Fb wrote

You seem relatively knowledgeable in health matters so I thought I would ask this question. I have recently given up smoking and started vaping. The guys at the Vape shop say vaping is healthier and not harmful but I am seeing some news articles on Facebook talking about how it is harmful and is an epidemic. I thought the tar was the bad part of smoking so is there something else I should be worried about?

Fb

Fb,

First off, let me say that inhaling anything other than the air we breathe is harmful …and sometimes even the air we breathe can be harmful.

While there is a lack of long-term data, studies do prove vaping is harmful because the “vape user” and anyone in the vicinity are inhaling a series of chemicals including – at minimum- concentrated nicotine which is usually consumed at a nearly toxic level, a chemical flavoring base, and the suspension liquid that turns into the vapor (this can turn into formaldehyde when heated into vapor…it is NOT just water). None of this is good for the lungs. While cigarettes, marijuana, and hookahs do contain a host of other chemicals and/or plant tar, vaping is still harmful – and if you are trying to be healthy, it’s best to avoid smoking in general. Nicotine in general can also affect brain growth in fetuses and small children as well, so it isn’t just you that should be considered.

I know I mentioned marijuana there, and there are people that need to take it for medicinal use, but I’d recommend looking into non-smokable options if that is the case.

I hope that helps,

Sean

Protein mysteries

I recently had someone ask me what protein I use.

I responded with, “Use when?”

There are different proteins for different situations. First, I never do plant protein…it doesn’t absorb as easily into the body, it’s usually very low in natural BCAAs and protein grams, and it’s almost always a nasty taste and it makes your teeth feel fuzzy. I am also not “plant based”, and never will be, thank God. Give me beef or dairy protein all day, every day.

Second, I also don’t use those proteins from companies like Thrive, Arbonne, GNC, or Beachbody. For those of you that have only had those types of proteins: THERE ARE WAY BETTER TASTING PROTEINS OUT THERE. Don’t settle for crappy tasting and overpriced protein. Do some research and find a flavor that works for you.

My top protein choices are as follows (in no particular order):

Dymatize – They make a great tasting whey and great tasting casein protein. They don’t amino spike, and it mixes really well with water, almond milk, or milk. I drink this blended with a banana, some honey, and milk after a workout. Gluten free too.

MAN Sports Clean Protein – One of the best tasting protein blends out there. It’s a mix of fast and slow digesting protein, has no amino spiking, and no artificial color. I drink this at work during the day by pouring a scoop with some milk. The Unicorn Milk flavor tastes like strawberry cake (not just strawberry). Says gluten free but processed with equipment that processes wheat.

Sparta Nutrition Spartan Whey – I can’t seem to get any response from the company on whether or not it’s gluten free at all (I’ve emailed, Facebook messages, etc), but the taste is amazing. The “Pebbles Cereal” fruity one really tastes like cereal and is great mixed with milk. It’s also a blend.

APS Isomorph Whey Isolate – This was a new one for me, but it slides right through a funnel for mixing (which is awesome for anyone that’s spilled protein powder on their desk before) and flavors taste exactly like they say. Cinnamon Graham is awesome. Like Sparta, I can’t get a response as to whether or not it’s gluten free.

RedCon1 MRE – This one is more like a meal. Most certainly not truly gluten free like MAN Sports Clean Protein, but it tastes amazing. Don’t let the blend of oats, beef, salmon, chicken, egg, rice, pea, and sweet potato fool you, it really tastes great and Blueberry Cobbler is like dessert (there are tiny oat chunks in there for you texture people).

I am always on the lookout for new, great tasting proteins, so I’d encourage you to try these and check back to see if more get a recommendation from me over time.

Sean

Ways to tell if a guy’s a d*ck before meeting or committing.

Soon-to-be-back-on-the-market wrote:

Sean, I’ll be divorced soon after over 10 years of marriage, and I’m rusty with dating and am not sure I even knew what I was doing before when I was single all those years ago. I’m not sure I know how to see the signs that a guy isn’t worth my time. Please help.”

STBBOTM

STBBOTM,

Online dating can be a drag for women. One minute, they are happily completing an online dating profile and the next thing they know, they have an inbox full of penis pictures and hateful emails yelling at them for not immediately responding.

Here are some ways to tell how if a guy online will be someone to avoid, or if you’ve already weeded through your inbox and set up a date, what to watch out for:

1. All of his role models and favorite celebs/athletes/musicians are male. If there is no important female in his life, odds are, you won’t be important either.

2. He doesn’t introduce you in social settings (or he diminishes what you do for a living). If he likes you, he will find what you do and who you are important enough to “show you off” to others. Not that you’re a trophy , but rather someone that he is proud to be with (run away if he only introduces you based on looks). If he diminishes what you do (i.e., “she just works in a daycare”), you are spending your time with a self-important douche.

3. He comments on more than 3 social media pictures at one time without emailing you to introduce himself. Social media is one way people can connect outside of dating apps but watch out for the randoms laying it on thick, like “You’re so hot.”, “We’d have so much fun together.”, “Love your hip tattoo”…these are all signs he is viewing you as an object and not a person. Normal people introduce or reintroduce themselves, make small talk, and get to know someone before making comments like that. Likes are a little different, but if a guy goes in and likes all 300 pictures of you on Instagram, start filing your restraining order.

Go ahead, turn this upside down..

4. He sends unsolicited sexts. If you think you’re getting a nice hello email and open it up to a what looks like an upside down Muppet modeling headshot, delete and block.

5. He is constantly rude to – or rude about- your friends. “Brenda is slutty, plain and simple.” or “Brenda, you’d find a decent guy if you weren’t so butch.” Go. Go now. Let Brenda beat his ass.

6. His online dating profile is all group pictures. This goes for women that have all group pictures in their profiles too. These people will eventually pull the “Well I’ve known them longer than you” card when you express frustration about only seeing them in group settings or one day a week. It’s best to avoid these types. A relationship happens when two people get to know each other on a personal level, not with a group of his (or her) friends.

7. His profile mentions his video game system. An adult doesn’t put enough priority in video games to mention them on a dating profile (unless it’s their living or they design games). If he talks about wanting to find someone who will play PS4 with him or his pictures feature him playing video games with his buds, it’s best to tell this guy “game over”.

“My name is Elliott. I like My Little Pony collecting. Would you dress up as Sparklefart for me?”

8. He posts pictures containing only him and his material things or all “flex” pics. Boat, motorcycle, house, alcohol or gun collection, and 13 shirtless pictures. Best to just leave this guy alone or it will be all materialism, all of the time.

9. Their profile says “I travel extensively for work” and they don’t work for an airline. While they may travel for work, these people usually want someone that is okay being alone most of the time (the person gets home wants to see family and friends and THEN you) or they are flat out lying and want to keep it casual without having that conversation. Some travel is okay, but if it’s more than a third of the year (that is over 100 days for you non-math people), it’s best to let them fly away while you stay grounded.

Hey, I heard you like butterflies, so…

10. He is all about grand gestures. A fun and unexpected first date is nice, as are some romantic gestures after getting to know someone. If it’s all about flashing cash and expensive things, he’s a collector. He collects things to show off and if you want to be treated like an equal, that will never happen with this guy.

The pose

Anonymous wrote,

You mentioned a pose in your “ways fitness habits are ripping you off” post. Like someone has a back problem. What is that pose?

Anonymous

Anonymous

It’s the one above. This was found with just a 5 minute scroll through Instagram.

To be clear, I am not knocking these women or home fitness (though it is proven to be somewhat ineffective for long term benefit as 33% quit by the end of their first year), or even the vendor, but I am suspecting the vendor or the vendor reps are coaching these people on how to stand and it’s really annoying.

That’s all.